Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor agreed Monday to re-open voter registration for another week.
The voter registration deadline, previously 2 January, was extended until next Tuesday, 22 January by gubernatorial order.
A government motion passed by a majority of local lawmakers last week asked that the registration date be extended until 31 January ahead of the general election, scheduled for 22 May.
Governor Taylor re-set the registration date as something of a compromise.
“I decided to limit registration to this date as I did not want the date or the register of elections coming into force to slip from 1 April,” Mr. Taylor said. “If this date were to slip, it could make it more difficult for students and other eligible people off island to apply for and send in their postal votes.”
Mr. Taylor said he was confident the extension will allow more people to register ahead of the general election and urged all applicants to provide relevant documentation as requested.
More than 3,000 new voters registered in the period between the last Cayman Islands referendum in July 2012, bringing the projected total voters in the islands to more than 18,000. However, the exact number of voters won’t be known until 1 April when the register of elections will be fixed.
Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said she was “satisfied” with the additional registration time granted by the governor. Ms O’Connor-Connolly said last week that she believed another 3,000 Cayman Islands voters might still be unregistered even though they are qualified to vote.
Public interest groups like Cayman United have said they estimated the total number of potential voters in Cayman at somewhere around 25,000. Anyone with Caymanian status is allowed to register to vote, according to the provisions of the 2009 Constitution Order.
“I believe that some of them will take advantage of this extension of time to register and will make the extra effort to get registered,” the premier said.
Some initial deadlines put forth by the Cayman Islands Elections Office will have to change due to the push back of the voter registration date.
For instance, the date for publication of the registered voter list – 22 January – has been pushed back to 29 January. The final date for claims to add a voter or to challenge the inclusion of a voter on the elections list has been pushed back from 12 February to 20 February, according to the Elections Office.
Deadlines for notice of settling claims [5 March] and latest date for settling those claims [12 March] have not changed.
After meeting on 14 January, Elections Office officials are setting up a registration station in the lobby of Smith Road Centre at 150 Smith Road, which will be staffed by assistants on a daily basis. The station will be open until midnight on 22 January. The registering officer in Cayman Brac will be maintaining similar hours.
“All individuals who have not registered, please note that this is your final opportunity to register,” the Elections Office notice stated. “All those who may have had a change of name, occupation or street address, this is your final opportunity to complete a ‘Form 13’ and submit it to the Elections Office.”